Monday, February 16, 2004

Connecting with your community:
Sometimes, if we stop and think for a minute, chances to connect with our community are right in front of us. Consider this situation an editor called me about a few days ago. Seems the state highway department, in its wisdom, is doing away with the "bypass" designation for highways. So now the old bypass becomes the regular route, the old regular route becomes "Business" whatever -- and the Post Office is ignorning it all and sticking with the old "Bypass" addresses.
This is not inconsequential stuff in small cities, and this editor wanted guidance on what style to use. We talked for a while, swapped some questions and thoughts, and then came to the idea that maybe the best answer was to ask the public: How do you want us, your local newspaper, to refer to these roads? What will make you most comfortable?
I don't know if the newspaper will do that, and maybe even if it does, there won't be a consensus. But what a wonderful way to say to the community, "We know this is important to you, and we care what you think." It's so much better than the Zeus-like attitude we sometimes take, handing down our style pronouncements.
Look around. I'll bet you find your own similar opportunities.

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